How to Choose the Perfect Dating Profile Photo

Having trouble finding “the one” online? There’s a good chance it’s not you—but actually your profile picture that’s the issue. Follow these tips from the pros to prompt right-swipes (or the equivalent), no matter which dating platform you’re using.

DO: Perform a quality check

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Photo by Inti St Clair/ Getty Images

“The first thing that you should do before uploading a photo is to make sure you’ve optimized the technical aspects like exposure and saturation,” says Lisa Hoehn, author of You Probably Shouldn't Write That: Tips, Tricks, and Foolproof Strategies for Creating an Online Dating Profile That Doesn't Suck. Try Google Snapseed, a free iPhone and Android app with an “auto tune” feature that takes the guesswork out of it. It’s fine to add a filter after that, but don’t choose one that’s too extreme—you want your photo to look natural, not like you’re trying to hide something.

DON’T: Blend into the crowd

Big group photos are distracting, so choose one in which you’re the only (or main) focus. “You want a potential match's eyes to be drawn directly to you and to stay on you. Having anyone else in there can take away from the attention,” says Hoehn.

DO: Show your interests

A photo of you surfing, painting, or playing with your dog is an immediate conversation starter. “A photo that includes your pet, for example, will attract those who like animals and weed out those who don't, and possibly make it easier to form a connection,” says body language expert Lillian Glass, Ph.D.



DON’T: Upload too many selfies

An up-close photo you’ve taken yourself can come across as vain and narcissistic, says Hoehn, so it’s not a good choice for your main profile pic. However, it’s fine to include a selfie in the collection of others on the site or app, adds Hoehn—and, in fact, “it’s best to have a mix of at least one face shot, some full-body photos, and a few that are somewhere in the middle.”